Having a large subscriber list is, seemingly, an email marketer’s dream. The larger the list, the greater the outreach, right? Not exactly. What really matters is how many of those subscribers are actively engaging with the emails they’re receiving.
Sending to a list of 100,000 subscribers is great—unless only 12,000 of those are actually opening or clicking through from your emails. The quality-over-quantity thought process plays a major part in your email engagement successes, and it’s important to maintain an engaged list by cleaning up your subscriber database on a regular basis.
So how do we do that?
The Winback Campaign
On average, around a third of your list will become unengaged over the course of a year, which in time will add up. While your email list may grow over time, the unengaged subscribers will remain, and eventually your list will become stale. Sending a winback campaign will weed out the inactive subscribers and allow you to focus on those who are actually paying attention.
Who to send to?
How do you decide when a subscriber has become inactive? That answer depends on how often you’re sending emails. Are you a once-a-month newsletter correspondence? If they haven’t opened an email in 6–12 months, they’re inactive. Are you an every-single-day kind of emailer? Give them 3–5 months of before calling them inactive.
What to send?
Once you’ve segmented out your inactive subscribers, it’s time to attempt the winback. Through a sequence of emails, your goal is to re-engage the unengaged. So how do you do this?
Send an email to let the subscriber know you miss them (aka, you’ve noticed they haven’t been opening your emails), and provide some sort of offer. Everyone loves an offer, whether it’s a discount, a white paper, or some sort of promotion. Of course, push this in the subject line—it is your gateway into email engagement, after all.
You have the option to send 1–2 more emails after this, in an added attempt to pull the subscriber back in. Use these emails as a chance to reinforce the benefits of receiving your emails and remind the reader why they subscribed in the first place. Within your last email, it’s best to let the subscriber know you won’t be continuing to email them—a sort of last-chance message.
Can't I just automate this?
Yes! Many email marketing platforms now have ways to automate your winback campaigns, making your job easier. By systematically sending the winback email(s) to inactive subscribers, automations will do the dirty work for you.
Clean & engaged
Once you’ve completed your winback sequence, you’ll be able to weed out the continued inactives from your list. Doing so will improve your list health, boosting your engagement rates, and helping your sender reputation. Take it from us, you (or your client) will be thrilled to see the engagement rates post–list clean.